Further to a previous Rock Notes post, it occurred to me that the correct frame of reference for the slightly aggrieved London hardcase calling for Thompson was, of course, Spiny Norman:



It then occurred further that the Netflix pilot would only succeed with the casting of Emma Thompson:


So yeah, Emma Thompson plays Emma Thomsen, a successful Scandinavian crime novelist, who spends the series battling the attentions of a giant animated hedgehog, Spiny Normal (n.b. hilarious British comedy reference/anxiety of inference gag). Spiny Normal is trying to get her to front a crime procedural he has written about hedgehogs. He thinks she needs a comeback vehicle, which of course she does not, being the successful Scandinavian crime novelist rather than the British actress.

Thomsen has to resolve this mysterious collision of worlds, aided/hindered by her patronus, Thomson the cat. Thomson knows how to contact everyone in the multiverse but is perpetually popping off for a pee.


Thomson would probably have to be voiced by John Thomson (Jazz Club).

…I have actually got up to about Episode 4, if anyone’s interested in bunging me a few quid.

The last jam slewed into a slough of despond somewhat. This week, the three of us (vocals, drums and guitar) regrouped and set about reconstruction. The main song we did has a nifty melody and words, and we managed a harmony. It was a unanimously agreed Good Sesh.

The best thing about that song is that the version on my phone makes one of the drum patterns sound like someone saying “Thompson!”, in a kind of disgruntled Cockney voice. Weird, but unmistakable. Sort of Guy Richie character? He’s clearly aggrieved at Thompson, or at least trying desperately to get his attention.

 We may develop this germ of a notion into an eight-part series for Netflix. Meanwhile, the Lloyd-Webber inspired Sweeney musical continues to develop well, with “Falling down the apples” now set to close the first act.

This weekend in the garden, we got at the berryfull but overgrown elder.As the photo shows, the apples are dropping too.

 Elderberries are very potent vitamin C containers, have a lot of vitamin A, and some research suggests they have strong antiviral properties.

We make juice. The berry recipe:

  • Lots of elderberries
  • Cloves
  • Star anise
  • Cinnamon

Cover with water, boil and reduce to a thickish liquor.

Strain, add sugar/honey to taste…  Simmer again. 

We’re probably going to keep this one liquid (in stoppered bottles), but quite like the idea of procuring some gelatine (beef/veggie), and jelly baby moulds, to make winter sweeties with the next batch.

The elder bush is in the chicken run, and they greatly enjoyed the offcuts.

This article at Observer on much of modern writing being steaming cow chips struck a couple of jarring chords.

I teach English, and am acutely conscious of the “five paragraph”, teaching to the exam, model of writing training the article talks about. It’s so pervasive though. And there’s such little time – “pig weighing” – and such high expectations of “getting the right grades”…  The utopian dream of being an inspirational teacher bucking the system is being constantly disturbed by the realpolitik of Target Grades, MiDyIS data (however that’s capitalised) and other five year plan impossibilities.

As the article suggests, few people devote time to reading any more. My students are all dedicated, but there are so many other things demanding their attention, formulae to be learned. While I love and enthuse about “English” – words and that – it most often feels like it’s a struggle against people who can do spreadsheets.

Had to skip a day’s online commentary, as my Android handset developed a sudden battery hemorrhage. Switching off, then dropping about 30% battery in a couple of minutes. Most disconcerting. Insert image of doornail.

Thusly, I spent my time on the laptop searching out possible causes for that. For your info, it is likeliest Google Play Services getting stuck in some sort of loop. Tries to do something repeatedly for some unknown and unpredictable reason, or something…

One of those ‘one of those things’ things. Yeah. Apparently a reboot usually fixes the problem, which will surprise no one familiar with the tech support classic “Have you tried switching it off then on again?” How far we’ve come.

 The device seems to have been ok today, so there you go. [FX: Sound of melting diodes]

The five parts of this passage are in the wrong order. What is the correct order?

A. Fortunately, he does not have to convert raw scores to quotients.

B. Tonight, the teacher is marking reading tests.

C. Not only that, but the mark scheme runs to 32 pages also.

D. Each answer is multiple choice, and the sheets have been photocopied so it’s quite hard to make out the answers.

E. He is thinking about drinking gin on a school night.

Answers are available on the Scorer/Profiler CD-ROM, but we won’t tell you whereabouts.

Had a rummage in a charity shop vinyl section at the weekend.  Naught but Mrs Mills at the piano, Golden Parade of Pops 1976, Val Doonican and Orchestral Sounds of Tijuana. There was me ready to splash a small amount of cash too. But no. The crates have all been dug.